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GM24295

Henry I Penny, facing bust / annulets and piles type, Ipswich Mint, Aelfric

Henry I (1100-35), silver Penny, facing bust / annulets and piles type (c.1105), Ipswich Mint, moneyer Aelfric, crowned facing bust with sceptre extending to bottom of coin, legend and beaded borders surrounding, +hENRIC RE, the NR ligatured, rev. annulet at centre with four surrounding in cruciform pattern, pellet topped piles in angles, all within inner beaded circle, legend and outer beaded border surrounding, +ELFRIC ON gIPPE, weight 1.31g (BMC type IV; cf. Sadler figs 984-5; N.860; S.1265). Dark tone contrasting with bright design and letter elements, well struck, good very fine and very rare.

The legends translate as "Henry " on obverse and "Aelfric of Ipswich" on the reverse.

In his 2018 study of the Ipswich Mint John Sadler records only two examples of this coin in private hands to which this adds a third having been found since publication, this is by far the best example known.

North records up to nine moneyers working at Ipswich for Henry I for types 1, 3, 4, 10, and 13-15.

The fourth son of William the Conqueror, the "fine scholar" Henry Beauclerc as he was known acceded to the throne of England on the death of his childless elder brother William Rufus, who died after a hunting accident in the New Forest on 2nd August 1100. Well educated Henry had been left landless when his Father died with the Kingdoms shared between the two eldest surviving brothers Robert and William, though he did purchase the county of Cotentin from his eldest brother Robert in western Normandy, but was later deposed from there in 1091, and subsequently, gradually rebuilt his power there with the help of elder brother William against Robert. Upon the death of William Rufus, and being present in the area at that time, he immediately became King promising to correct the less popular policies of his late brother. Henry married Matilda of Scotland with whom he had a son William Aethling and a daughter the Empress Matilda, as well as various other illegitimate children. His elder brother Robert invaded in 1101 disputing Henry's control, but this was settled by a pact recognising Henry as King of England. Henry later invaded Normandy in 1105 and 1106 defeating Robert eventually in the Battle of Tinchebray imprisoning his brother until his death on 3rd February 1134 in Cardiff Castle. Henry then controlled Normandy for which he was subsequently challenged by Robert's son William Clito who was supported by Fulk V of Anjou, Baldwin VII of Flanders and Louis VI of France, resulting in major rebellions within the Duchy from 1116-19. Eventually a peace settlement was agreed in 1120 after Henry's victory at the Battle of Bremule.

Henry was an effective leader who drew his nobles and barons close whilst using the government justice and taxation systems to the best effect boosting the Royal Exchequer, along with Normandy and its own independent system. He also encouraged ecclesiastical reform playing a major role in selecting senior clergy, though he did have a serious earlier dispute with Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury in 1101 eventually resolved through a compromise in 1105. Unfortunately, Henry's son and heir apparent William drowned in the White Ship sinking disaster of 1120 and Henry entered a second marriage in the hope of another son, but the union with Adeliza of Louvain remained childless. He therefore declared Matilda his heir and married her to Geoffrey of Anjou in 1128 but the relationship between them all became strained with fighting along the Anjou border. Henry subsequently died on 1st December 1135 after a week of illness and despite his plan for succession it was Stephen of Blois his nephew that succeeded him which led to a Civil War.

Nearly 70 miles north-east of London, Ipswich is a town and seaport on the River Orwell. The Danes came and ravaged Ipswich in 991 and again in 1010, and they subsequently disembarked there in 1069 but were driven away. Minting activity occurs from the reign of Edgar until King John and there is a die link with the still mysterious mint of DERNT issued only under Edward the Confessor.

Provenance:

Found near Market Raisen, Lincolnshire, 2019 - EMC 2019.0276.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group, Webshop, July 2020.

Ex Collection of an English Doctor part II, Sovereign Rarities fixed price list online May 2022.

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